Saga Cruises has released the first images of its planned new cruise ship.

The new build vessel, which will carry under 1,000 passengers in 540 cabins and suites, is due to enter service in summer 2019.

Facilities will include two speciality restaurants, a signature Britannia Lounge, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a spa, sauna, treatment rooms and a beauty salon.

All cabins will have balconies with a choice of standard, deluxe, mid-ship suites and larger suites.

The vessel is to be built at the Meyer Werfrt shipyard in Papenburg, Germany and will run both ex-UK and fly-cruise itineraries.

Saga has an option on a second new-build ship from the same shipyard but no decision has yet been made.

The build is being overseen by new build director David Pickett, who previously worked at Carnival UK on launching P&O Cruises’ ships such as Britannia, Azura and Ventura.

Around 15% of the accommodation will be for passengers travelling on their own with a selection of single cabin grades.

Pickett said: “The all-balcony cabins will be spacious and modern, designed with a fresh and contemporary twist.

“In fact, the whole ship has the ‘wow’ factor. It is being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard, in Hamburg, and at the moment we’re heavily focused on technical design, the engine, generator and propulsion plant; everything to make sure we deliver a practical, working ship of the highest specification.”

“We are scheduled to lay the first block in late summer 2018. Just over a year away.”

He added: “The Britannia Lounge is going to be a magnificent signature space set across two decks. I know how important this area will be to our loyal guests, so we’ve worked hard to ensure it doesn’t disappoint.

“It’s been our aim to listen to current passengers during consultations and get as many of their wants and desires into the new ship while future-proofing the build, so it can operate for many, many years ahead.”